GE Foundation funds millions to support safe surgery in Cambodia

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Prime Minister Hun Sen (sixth from left) at the Safe Surgery project signing ceremony in New York last week. Photo supplied

GE Foundation funds millions to support safe surgery in Cambodia

The GE Foundation is committed to expand the Safe Surgery 2020 program in Southeast Asia, with the inclusion of Cambodia and Laos.

The foundation announced a $25 million fund in 2015 to implement the program in countries like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Cambodia and Laos.

In a statement, the foundation said the investment was critical to accelerate access to surgical care in Southeast Asia, as the region has one of the lowest levels of surgical provision in the world, with 97 percent of people currently unable to access safe surgical care.

At the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, GE Foundation officially partnered with Cambodia’s Ministry of Health to strengthen surgical systems through Safe Surgery 2020’s programmes on workforce development and targeted innovations and equipment support.

Safe Surgery 2020 will collaborate with Calmette Hospital and the University of Health Sciences in Phnom Penh to establish a training hub that will develop the surgical workforce.

“Safe Surgery 2020 is strengthening the foundations of the surgical system so that essential surgical care will become safe and accessible. The initiative will focus on building the capacity of Cambodian institutions to continue transforming surgical care long into the future,” said Ann R. Klee, GE Foundation’s president.

“The Cambodian government is committed to improving quality and increasing access to healthcare in the country, and GE Foundation is pleased to be collaborating with the Ministry of Health to advance surgical care.”

“We are delighted to be selected as one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to run the Safe Surgery programme. It provides new, exciting training opportunities for our current, and aspiring surgeons – it will also further support, and hopefully speed up the roll out of a universal health coverage program in the near-future,” said Health Minister Mam Bun Heng.

Safe Surgery 2020 was established in 2015 with the goal of reducing preventable deaths and accelerating access to safe surgery and anesthesia worldwide.

Its key objectives are:
Impact: Reduce preventable deaths from surgically-treatable conditions by enhancing quality of care and increasing the surgical volume in Safe Surgery 2020-supported facilities

Innovation: Introduce and test innovative models for implementation in global health; and Scale: Build and strengthen sustainable ecosystems for essential and emergency surgery in low-resource areas.

GE Foundation’s investment in surgery in Southeast Asia builds on over 10 years of working in the region to improve underserved and rural communities’ access to quality healthcare.

Over the period, General Electric and GE Foundation has provided $12 million in funding to bring in modern medical equipment, develop an in-country biomedical engineering equipment technician training programme in collaboration with Duke University and Engineering World Health, and increase access to safe water by sponsoring water purification systems with training for healthcare facilities.

The programmes have supported more than 40 hospitals in 25 provinces.

“Safe Surgery 2020 complements well the GE Foundation-supported healthcare program we launched in Cambodia in 2009. While that initiative focused on providing medical essentials such as training, and equipment, to under-resourced hospitals, this specialist skill focused program offers long-term benefits for our surgical teams nationwide,” said Dararith Lim, Country Leader of GE in Cambodia.

GE Foundation is the philanthropic organisation of GE, an American conglomerate.

Safe Surgery brings together innovations, global expertise, and local experience to makesurgical care safe and accessible for all.

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